Ackermann’s last game dream finish
JOHAN Ackermann’s wish of having a sold-out Ellis Park for his last game in charge of the Lions will come true on Saturday.
Ackermann, pictured, will be in charge for the final time when his team host the seven-time champions, the Crusaders, at 4pm on Saturday, with the Super Rugby title on the line.
Next week, the popular Lions boss will head to Gloucester in England where he will take up a position of head coach for the next three years. His assistant, Swys de Bruin, will take over the hot seat.
The Lions confirmed yesterday that they’ll hit the 62 000 capacity mark on Saturday.
“It’s amazing… I’m so grateful to be in the final again,” said Ackermann after the Lions had downed the Hurricanes in last Saturday’s semi-final, the same team that beat them in the 2016 final, albeit in Wellington.
Only 32 000 fans turned up last Saturday to watch the match, a thriller which saw the Lions come back from being 22-3 down to win 44-29. The previous week, in the quarter-final against the Sharks, 29 000 watched from the stands. “It’s the dream finish, to play in front of a full Ellis Park. You can’t ask for more, it’s the ultimate. It’s unreal… it’s the way I always wanted to finish here, especially after the special journey over the last few years.”
The fans started buying tickets for the final on Saturday evening already, just minutes after the remarkable comeback victory against the Hurricanes. By midday yesterday, 50 000 tickets had been sold, and by last night, they’d all been snapped up.
The Lions and Crusaders go into the final having both only lost once in round-robin play this year, the visitors from Christchurch edging the Chiefs last weekend to qualify for their 12th final.